Bassist Victor Wooten & photographer Greg Kessler
Photographing Bass Camp and The Flecktones
November 09, 2000
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Greg, at what age did you get into photography? And who, in the photographic world do you draw the most inspiration from?
I got into photography my sophomore year of high school and instantly fell in love with it, although by no means was I instantly successful. In the music photography world, rock-n-roll photographer Jim Marshall is a huge inspiration. I got a chance to meet him when I was on a shoot in San Francisco last year. It was a real high point of my career. As far as photographers, Henri Cartier Bressant is just an amazing photographer. He's the one who coined the slogan, "the decisive moment."
Victor, how do you spend your recreation time (or do you have time for any!)?
Look at the depth of that picture that's there now. That's a great shot.
Yeah, I really like that one.
I try to spend as much time with my family as I can, and I love hanging out in woods. Usually in my off time, I'm not playing music. But that's because I'm usually always playing music. There's not much off time.
When I think of the bass I think of the legendary Klaus Voorman - do you know him or his work, or am I dating myself by asking this question?
I do know who Klaus Voorman is, but I'm not very familiar with his work.
Victor, how does it feel having someone taking photos of you on and off stage? Do you get a say in when and where the shots are taken?
Most of the time, you don't have a say of where the shots are used. But you usually do have a say of when and where the shots are taken, and it can be very distracting to have a camera in your face. But with the good photographers, you don't know they're there.
When taking a picture, what do you think about most?
I think about capturing "the decisive moment." I think about trying to create visually and emotionally stirring images. With music photography, I'm at a point now where many of the musicians treat me as an artist, and there's a mutual respect for each other. And to me, when both artists have established that sort of relationship, the most honest and expressive images are able to develop.
Greg, have you learned anything from Vic's music that relates to your photography, and Vic, have you learned anything from Greg's photography that you can relate to your music?
That's a great question! Being at Vic's bass camp really brought out a lot of different things for me to think about. I was able to relate a lot of the things that Victor said to musicians and make a connection to photography. For example, one of the things that Vic talked about was wide-angle vision. In a nutshell, what that means is always being aware of everything around you in a 360 degree vision. And I can apply, and have applied since bass camp, other skills that Vic taught at the camp towards photography.
Photography, to me, is like being in a band where all of life is your band members. Like when you're playing with a band, you have to pay attention to the other band members, but a good photographer is paying attention to all of life so he doesn't miss the shot. A good photographer can also help capture many of the beautiful moments that are always happening in life. Being a live musician, those moments can come and go so quickly. But photography, like recording music, can preserve those moments.
Greg, will you have a gallery of the camp shots online at some point? These are all great work.
Hi Mary. Thanks for your nice comment. I anticipate them being up on Vic's website soon, www.victorwooten.com, as well as on www.kodak.com by the end of next week. I hope everyone has a chance to check out my website, www.gregkessler.com that will have some of these pictures as well as many more.
Victor, you really opened up my eyes about how much nature can help every aspect of your musical and non musical life, Thank you.
Thank you also for helping me. Life is a forever-learning process. We help each other.
CC 498 Guest:
Greg, can we purchase any prints of these shots? I particularly like the shot up on screen now.
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